Gathering Blue

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The Singer’s Chain Symbol Icon
Kira notices that the Singer of the Ruin Song wears a heavy chain that restricts his movements and causes him to leave a trail of blood wherever he walks. When Kira sees this, she realizes that she is no better off than the Singer. In spite of her pampered lifestyle, she’s imprisoned in the Council Edifice, forced to create art—in her case, a robe—that doesn’t reflect what she feels or believes. It’s important to note that even after she realizes this, Kira agrees to remain in the Edifice, working on her own, secret version of the robe. Unlikely as it sounds, perhaps it’s possible to fight the Council—and any tyrannical system—while still appearing to be a slave to that system.

The Singer’s Chain Quotes in Gathering Blue

The Gathering Blue quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Singer’s Chain. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Houghton Mifflin edition of Gathering Blue published in 2012.
Chapter 23 Quotes

The three of them — the new little Singer who would one day take the chained Singer's place; Thomas the Carver, who with his meticulous tools wrote the history of the world; and she herself, the one who colored that history — they were the artists who could create the future.

Related Characters: Kira, Thomas the Carver, Jo
Related Symbols: The Robe, Staff, and Ruin Song, The Singer’s Chain
Page Number: 237
Explanation and Analysis:

In this important quotation, Kira first begins to realize how powerful she, Thomas, and Jo are. Because they have artistic talent, they've been tasked with performing and depicting the history of the world. Indeed, the Ruin Ceremony--the cloak, the staff, the song, etc.--is itself a history of human civilization, which Kira and her friends are tasked with polishing year after year.

Kira begins to realize how powerful she is: she has the ability to tell a story of the future, rather than merely rehashing the past. As long as Kira obeys the guardians and simply repairs the Singer's robe year after year, she's sending a message to the people of the village that nothing is ever going to change. But if she were to change the robe to depict a better potential future, then Kira could send a different message to her audience of villagers.

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The Singer’s Chain Symbol Timeline in Gathering Blue

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Singer’s Chain appears in Gathering Blue. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 23
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...blood behind him. Kira also saw why: he was wearing ankle cuffs and a heavy chain. (full context)